People’s interest in user experience (UX) design is increasing as the use of technology intertwines with our daily activities. UX design ensures that the creative and technical aspects of a product meet the expectations of its users. In addition, the subject serves as a gateway for people who want to delve into tech in a creative capacity.
The available data suggest that now is the time to join the field. As enterprises realize the importance of UX designers in their overall growth, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that career opportunities for digital interface designers and web developers will increase by 13 percent between 2020 and 2030.
With hiring managers tapping the global talent pool, aspiring UX designers need to build a solid foundation to stand out. One effective way to equip yourself with the correct skillset is to learn from leading bootcamps, like General Assembly, that offer transformative training in a sprint.
A pioneering institution in the edtech space is General Assembly. They are known for their innovative methods in educating more than 85,000 graduates worldwide via online and in-person sessions. The school provides courses in data science, software engineering, web development, marketing, and of course, design.
In this article, we highlight what makes General Assembly’s UX Design Immersive course popular and effective. The school’s expert Experience Designer, Researcher & Educator, Austin Keeble, also gave us first-hand insights on how General Assembly bridges its students to a fulfilling career in UX design.
General Assembly molds aspiring UX designers into tech professionals with invaluable skills through its UX Design Immersive course.Attend a free intro class to UX Design.
An Overview of General Assembly’s UX Design Immersive Course
General Assembly’s UX design immersive course is spread over three months (full-time) or over six months (flexible). During this period, students gain technical skills, hone their professional brand, create their network, and contribute to the UX design community.
A course from General Assembly costs $15,950, but students who enroll before 2021 ends are entitled to a $1,000 discount. General Assembly offers different payment options that we’ll cover in this article.
After 10 years in the bootcamp space, General Assembly continues to provide excellent education by working with industry experts and keeping their curriculums up to date.
“We do quarterly updates to the curriculum…and they’re more incremental. [The courses are] more iterative.” Austin said, referring to the school’s UX design course. Students can be confident that General Assembly is molding them to become in-demand UX designers with invaluable competencies.
How to Get Started in the UX Design Immersive Course
You do not need to have any background in UX design to gain admission to the course, as it is beginner-friendly. However, anyone from diverse professional backgrounds is still welcome to join. All the school asks is for students to have the drive to forge a career path that is creative and impactful in the digital era. Applicants can get in touch with the admissions team to evaluate their options prior to enrollment.
“[I]f you’re totally new to the field, join us because [UX design is full of] problems to solve and people to help…There’s a creative element, but you also have to understand the logic of the computers themselves. So if that sounds interesting then, I would say, go for it,” Austin said.
A preparatory course lasting up to 20 hours aims to instill fundamental skills and knowledge to prepare you for the main course. The best thing about it is it’s self-paced and easily accessible online. Here, students learn about basic UX design concepts, user research, prototyping, and sharpening their design vocabulary.
Other topics covered in the prep course are:
- Competitive analysis
- Affinity mapping
- Creating personas
- Information architecture
- Designing intuitive navigation
UX Design Immersive Course Curriculum Overview
In this course, General Assembly takes a holistic approach by merging technical lessons and career coaching in their six-unit curriculum. The topics discussed cover UX and UI foundations, design iteration and development, and product team collaboration. The course is structured to address challenges and prepare students for real-life difficulties.
UX design students build foundational knowledge on UX and UI. The lessons range from understanding how to plan and strategize according to the problems and needs of end-users, prototyping, and interaction design principles to visual design and responsive design.
As the course progresses, so does the complexity of the lessons, with students delving into design iteration and development. The topics include project management, UX writing, content strategy, and integrating VR, AR, and wearable technology into UX design. The students work in teams to develop their collaboration and communication skills.
UX designers typically work with other designers and engineers. With this in mind, General Assembly trains the students on how to become valuable team players. Here, students learn how to weave in conversational storytelling when pitching products. They also learn about Agile development methodology, HTML and CSS, advanced prototypes, and how to work around technology constraints.
Other vital skills instilled during the course are client management, project management, and balancing the needs of the business and end-users.
The course is heavily anchored on the learn-by-doing method, meaning for every unit, students get to apply what they learn and build apps, websites, and product prototypes. They also work with an actual client on an existing product and complete the entire process, from researching and ideation to wireframing and testing.
How General Assembly Trains Job-Ready UX Designers
The rigorous learning process and environment at General Assembly can help upgrade your career. To further equip you in navigating the job market, the school’s career coaches guide you in mapping out your career path according to your strengths, building your brand and portfolio, and sharpening your interview skills. They encourage students to focus their project on a design problem that successfully showcases their capabilities and uniqueness.
Austin shares that knowing what kind of UX designer you want to be can give you the edge in an increasingly competitive landscape.
“While it’s great to learn how to add a drop shadow to a button or how to ask good research questions in tandem, I think it’s important to do some deep soul searching and think about who you are…What are your superpowers and what do you want to work on? And where do you want to have an impact? Don’t forget [that] there’s a huge element of introspection throughout this process,” he said.
5 Reasons to Learn UX Design at General Assembly
Students who sign up with General Assembly can expect high-quality lessons from seasoned professionals, and this is just one reason why you should consider enrolling. Whether you are new to UX design or have some experience, consider the following:
1. Study UX design in-person or online
UX design students can choose between a full-time schedule that runs for 12 weeks or a flexible schedule lasting 24 weeks. The latter option is perfect for those who want to keep their daytime job and learn at night and weekends. General Assembly will resume its on-campus lessons at select US campuses. Students who prefer to take remote lessons can enjoy real-time lessons and one-on-one coaching and mentoring.
2. Work on actual projects with existing clients
As previously mentioned, General Assembly layers minor projects into its curriculum to help students master UX design. The school’s Capstone project allows students to interact with actual clients, identify existing challenges, and present actionable solutions. The result? Capable UX designers that companies seek to hire.
Austin says client projects last for three weeks. In that short span, students get the chance to prove their skills and the value they can give to clients. “A lot of times, the clients, after the course, say: ‘Hey, are you available to keep working on this?’ Because some students do such solid work.”
3. Learn from highly qualified instructors
The school prides itself in having a design standards board joined by industry experts from Google, Kohls, HSBC, and Warner Bros, among others. They design General Assembly’s courses, ensuring that students gain in-depth and relevant knowledge and training.
The UX design course is taught by full-time or part-time instructors, like Austin Keeble. Besides teaching at General Assembly, Austin actively works as a designer. Some of his past clients include Procter & Gamble, Audi AG, and The Financial Times. He has taught over 2,000 students and is General Assembly’s co-chair of the User Experience Design Advisory Board.
“So [how] I do it is I challenge myself to work and design in new, innovative, and forward-thinking spaces whenever possible. I think a lot of other instructors follow that playbook where they want to make sure that they’re more like industry operators who teach,” Austin says.
Actively practicing his profession as a designer in parallel with being a teacher enables Austin to identify current trends and demands. He uses this information to create a unique and timely learning experience.
4. Access a global network of alumni and employers
The expansive network of General Assembly is spread across North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia. With over 30 campuses, the bootcamp courses have more than 40,000 graduates since its inception more than 10 years ago. Add to that their hiring partners, reaching over 19,000 worldwide.
General Assembly students can tap into this rich network of alumni to gain insights and build a relationship with hiring partners. GA alumni also get access to resources and special discounts on classes and tuition fees, should you want to enroll in any GA courses.
5. Flexible financing options
You have multiple financing options at General Assembly that are affordable and accessible. You can always pay your tuition upfront and receive a $450 discount or by installment, dividing your tuition fee throughout your course. You can also access an income share agreement, other student loans, and scholarships.
The income share agreement with General Assembly allows you to pay your tuition only if you secure a job that pays at least $40,000 a year. You can also apply for a student loan with the bootcamp’s lending partners, like Climb Credit, Meritize, and Ascent. Choosing this route lets you pay as low as $450 a month and even enjoy interest-free monthly payments for 24 months, should you qualify.
General Assembly is committed to empowering its diverse students by partnering with organizations and offering scholarships for the underrepresented. Among their scholarship programs are Adobe Digital Academy, TechHire-OpenCode, GI Bill for the veterans, and Break the Glass tuition discount.
Design a Better Career with General Assembly
With a course focused on developing the core skills in UX Design, you will gain skills in design, business, communication, and analysis. Upon graduation, General Assembly alumni can secure jobs as UX designer, UX researcher, UX strategist, or information architect, to name a few, with one of their reputable employer partners.
Ready to take a plunge into a creative career? See if you’re fit for a career in UX design when you attend General Assembly’s free intro class to UX design class.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.